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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Food & Wine's Tahoe weekend: "le back-story"


Have you seen this month's Food&Wine yet? I wrote a piece for them, a very bloggy piece about our weekend in Tahoe earlier this year. It might have been bloggier than this blog even - quite a feat I'm telling you.

The only thing different in the Food&Wine story is it wasn't real. Ha! Busted! Well, no, not really. It's not what you think. We actually do cook this way on vacation, if you didn't believe me you could check out my Flickr photoset from our trip to Mougins a while back. Yes we *are* that crazy about food.


What wasn't exactly a full 100% truth was how the story was told. It's more the story of how the weekend would have been had it not been for the photographer and food stylists and prop stylists and art director telling us to pause and smile. Ok, ski down this path - s-l-o-w-l-y - so we could catch you. And then stop. And then please do it again just like the first time. Or that picture with the cheese board, which goes like this...yes, pick up the cheese, drop it slowly. Pick it up again. Place it again slowly, just like the first time.


Frankly, I didn't even expect to be the one telling the story myself. When Food & Wine asked us they didn't mention anything about me writing it. They just asked if we want to do a cooking holiday story with them. Naturally we said yes. Then my editor Kate asked if I would write it myself. Dana (Cowin, the editor of the magazine) wanted me to do it like a blog - the way you would blog your weekend away, she said. Why not, I thought? I blog about myself all the time, how hard could it be?

Well, let me tell you it was a mildly painful experience writing. Writing about myself on the blog is one thing. When I write on my blog I assume a certain familiarity with you, my readers. I can be silly or mildly snooty and probably could still get away with it. Writing for an audience of a magazine who more than likely wouldn't know me from Adam was tough. I didn't even quite know how to introduce myself. But, thanks to Kate, my editor who has the patience of a saint, we ended up with a story that is less painful to read than it was to write. Ha!

The pictures turn out so beautiful in the pages, thanks to John Kernick and Fredrika Stjerne, the photographer and shoot director, and the wonderful styling by Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm. We thought our food was already pretty, but Alison picked up this and turned that a particular way and then - boom! - the food was a hundred times prettier than it had been. Then again it might have also been all those twenty massive boxes of beautiful plates and things the prop stylist Alistair Turnbull brought with him. And if you wondered how we looked so smashing (posing) on the slopes, the gear we wore came from our other friend Joel Gomez of Sessions, another local company we love.


If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the magazine or go to their webpage and get the recipes. (That chorizo, potatoes, and eggs might become a classic in your house too!) We really brought and cooked that stuff in the mountains, and they really were fabulous. In fact there were so many lovely and delicious things on the table that a few got accidentally dropped from the article, like a massive tray of charcuterie from Fra 'Mani, which we munched down with the Villmart champagne while gathering the strength to cook after a long day of skiing. I also brought so many wines I love that not all made it to the pages either - notably the lovely Pinot Noir from Windy Oaks Estate, and the funky old vines Arbois from Puffeney in the Jura. Oh, right, and all the delicious looking vegetables came from our garden at Love Apple Farm - which now has a blog too!

We sat down and ate everything - in front of the camera, yes. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but then Alexandra began telling all those blond jokes of hers and got everyone in stitches. I even tried to tell one in that story, but, predictably, it didn't make the final cut.


Oh, yes, and if you caught the bit at the credit, about a book I'm supposedly working on. There certainly is a book. Sorry I hadn't told you about it. It's just one of those things I am somewhat superstitious about, but now that it is actually close to done I suppose I should just come out and say it. I've got a book coming out, but it will be next Fall and not April as it said in the magazine, also the full title is The Foodie Handbook: the (nearly) definitive guide to gastronomy. Quite a bit more fun and interesting than the slightly snooty The Foodie Handbook, huh? Then again, I might just have snooty copyrighted. Ha!


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